Advocacy staff worked closely with the offices of Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on their bipartisan legislation to reauthorize programs under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which funds mental health and suicide prevention services for youth and college campus populations. The Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Program is the only federal program that directly supports mental and behavioral health services for college students. The updated program would provide more equitable funding for under-resourced colleges and universities, including those that serve predominately students of color.
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Reauthorization Act (S. 4271) would increase the authorization for the campus-based grants by $5 million for a total of $12 million, which would allow for more campuses to access these critical funds.
The Association's recommended language points this funding toward under-resourced institutions, such as historically Black colleges and universities, minority serving institutions, Hispanic serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and community colleges. The bill would also emphasize prevention and wellness promotion, recognizing that better mental health is essential for students to be successful in their education. Additionally, the bill increases the authorization for the youth grants by $20 million for a total of $50 million.
This legislation is likely to be included as a provision in the comprehensive mental health package that Congress is currently working on.
For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.